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Determining an optimal posturography dataset to identify standing behaviors in the post-stroke subacute phase. Cross-sectional study.

BACKGROUND: A key issue for posturography is the expression of robust results, in a simplified way. Most studies of individuals post-stroke concern the chronic phase, with small sample sizes.

OBJECTIVES: By reducing the number of posturographic indices, we aimed to determine an optimal dataset and understand typical postural behaviors in the subacute post-stroke phase.

METHODS: In this cross-sectional study ancillary to the DOBRAS cohort, individuals were assessed as soon they could complete a full posturography session (with and without vision) after a first hemispheric stroke. Body-weight distribution on the mediolateral (ML) axis, position of the center of pressure on the antero-posterior (AP) axis, and postural sway on both axes were computed. Balance ability in daily life was quantified with the Postural Assessment Scale for Stroke. Data were analyzed by principal component and hierarchical clustering analyses as well as multiple linear regression.

RESULTS: We enrolled 95 individuals (median age: 67.0 years [Q1; Q3 56.0; 72.0]; 68% males). Vision suppression had a marginal effect, only increasing postural sway. Regardless of the visual condition, posturographic behavior was captured by a set of 3 indices that explained almost all the information. One postural sway index (ML or AP) gave more information (48%) than both position indices (ML 26% and AP 15%). These 3 indices identified 3 standing behaviors: 1) stable and symmetric, 2) asymmetric, unstable, and positioned backward, and 3) very unstable and positioned forward. Balance ability in daily life was explained (49% of the information, 95%CI [35; 63]) by weight-bearing asymmetry and postural sway on the ML axis, which played an independent role (both p<10-5 ), with similar impact.

CONCLUSIONS: Three typical behaviors allow standing after stroke: described by only 3 posturographic indices. Weight-bearing asymmetry is not the primary parameter and should not be considered in isolation as an outcome. To increase the feasibility of posturography in the early subacute phase and to simplify evaluation sessions, trials could be limited to eyes open.


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